Volunteer-Course/ Trail-Blazers

Working outdoors, this group builds the track, ensures it is safe, signs the course, and then cleans it up in the Spring. On Event day, they survey the race courses for safety and event quality.

Safety and equipment inspection before heading out.
Safety and equipment inspection before heading out.

Who is In Charge?

Dan Leskiw, Chief of Course

Dan Leskiw is the Chief of Course. He loves being outside doing things like skiing, riding or working on the Birkie trails. He is a retired high school teacher and continues to play in local musical bands.

Final inspection of the trail
Final inspection of the trail
  • 090-Course/Trails-Chief
  • 091-Course/Trails-Sign Inventory
  • 092-Course/Trails-Long Course Signs
The result of a job well done by the Trail Blazers.
The result of a job well done by the Trail Blazers.
  • 093-Course/Trails-Short Course Signs
  • 094-Course/Trails-Ski Reconnaissance
  • 095-Course/Trails-Worker – Fall
  • 096-Course/Trails-Worker – Winter

Context For All Roles

Safety Considerations:  Volunteers need to be prepared to work outdoors. Steel toe boots are required for volunteers using power tools. Gloves, food, water, and appropriate dress for the conditions is required for all, and are supplied by the volunteers. The Birkie provides hi-vis vests, earplugs, hardhats and visors.

Location: Starting point is primarily the Waskehegen Maintenance area in Blackfoot Park except for the summer maintenance when the crews will start from one of the staging areas in the Blackfoot Park. Transporation to these starting points is the responsibility of the Volunteer.

Training: Volunteer orientation occurs before each work session. Trail-Blazer Chief provides a safety briefing, mentorship and guidance. Virtual briefing in January. Volunteer Orientation. Onsite training.

Roles Needed

Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:090-Course/Trails-Chief
DescriptionPreparing and maintaining the course to ensure a safe and enjoyable Event for the participants. Designs the course accommodating external changes (e.g. required by Alberta Parks) or internal changes (e.g. adding, removing an event). Plans the schedule of work and volunteer requirements. Develops a budget (e.g. rentals, tools). Works with Loppet Chief for the approval of the plans/budgets. Coordinates work throughout the seasons. Ensures stations are equipped (e.g. firewood, picnic tables). Liaison with Alberta Parks Staff. Organize site cleanup post-Birkie and tidy up for next year Birkie.
Volunteer RequirementsGood organizational and people skills. Sufficient free-time to supervise work activities. Familiarity with tools and equipment is desirable. Good communication skills.
When NeededFall pre-Birkie, intermittently in the Fall for work activities. Intermittently in January and February. Wednesday to Sunday of Birkie Week. Intermittently post-Birkie.
Times Needed20-40 hours in the fall split between planning and work activities. 30-50 hours Birkie Week. 10-20 hours post-Birkie
Number Needed1
090-Course/Trails-Chief
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:091-Course/Trails-Sign Inventory
DescriptionArrange and inventory course signage. Place course signage into Sign Shed for storage.
Volunteer RequirementsSome organizational skills. Volunteers need to provide their own food and water and suitable clothing for the weather. Volunteers must be able to arrange their own transportation to and from Waskehegen Staging Area, Blackfoot Recreation Area
When NeededMarch, 2024 A warm day will be selected
Times Needed9:00AM – 2:00 PM
Number Needed3
091-Course/Trails-Course Signage Inventory and Cleanup
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:092-Course/Trails-Long Course Signs
DescriptionSet out signs on 55 km and 31 km courses Crews will travel within Blackfoot park by snowmobile along race courses setting out distance and directional signage.
Volunteer RequirementsExperience operating snowmobile is desirable. Volunteers need to provide their own food and water and suitable clothing for the weather and travel by snowmobile. Volunteers must be able to arrange their own transportation to and from Waskehegen Staging Area and Blackfoot Recreation Area Note: Safety equipment (hi-vis vests, earplugs, safety helmet, hand and power tools are provided).
When NeededWednesday of Race Week, February 7, 2024
Times Needed8:00AM – 4:30 PM
Number Needed5
092-Course/Trails-Long Course Signage Crew

Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:093-Course/Trails-Short Course Signs
DescriptionSet out signs on 13 km and 7 km courses. Crews will travel within Blackfoot park by snowmobile along race courses setting out distance and directional signage.
Volunteer RequirementsExperience operating snowmobile is desirable. Volunteers need to provide their own food and water and suitable clothing for the weather and travel by snowmobile. Volunteers must be able to arrange their own transportation to and from Waskehegen Staging Area and Blackfoot Recreation Area Note: Safety equipment (hi-vis vests, earplugs, safety helmet, hand and power tools are provided).
When NeededFebruary 8, All Day Thursday of Race Week, February 8, 2024
Times Needed8:00AM – 4:30 PM
Number Needed3
093-Course/Trails-Short Course Signage Crew
Event Signage Crew on a Break
Event Signage Crew on a Break
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:094-Course/Trails-Ski Reconnaissance
DescriptionIdentify areas along race courses in Blackfoot park where trail maintenance is needed. Report areas and description of work required to Chief of Course.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteers need to provide their own ski equipment, food and water and suitable clothing for skiing sections of the race courses. Volunteers must be able to arrange their own transportation to and from Waskehegen Staging Area and Blackfoot Recreation Area Note: Volunteers will not be supervised during this activity. You may wish to participate in this role as part of your training for the Birkie races and with other skiers.
When NeededJanuary to Birkie Friday, specific times and dates per the volunteer
Times NeededPer the volunteer
Number Needed10 Unlimited skiers accepted
094-Course/Trails-Ski Reconnaissance

Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:095-Course/Trails-Worker – Fall
DescriptionBrush clearing along edges of trails, branch trimming, rock removal, earth moving to level trail base. Work involves use of hand tools including shovels, rakes, tree pruners, and other digging tools. Crew uses power brush saws and chainsaws. Operators of power equipment require steel-toed work boots, and will receive training.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteers need to provide their own food and water and good work gloves to protect from thorns. Volunteers must be able to arrange their own transportation to and from one of the staging areas in Blackfoot park as designated by the Chief of Course. Volunteers will then walk into worksites using the trails within the park.
When NeededSelected weekdays Mid-September to the end of October
Times NeededWeekdays only 9:00AM – 3:30 PM
Number Needed12 Unlimited workers accepted
095-Course/Trails-Trail Worker – Fall
Taking a break from maintaining the Course.
Taking a break from maintaining the Course.
Trail Blazer Volunteers ROCK!
Trail Blazer Volunteers ROCK!
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:096-Course/Trails-Worker – Winter
DescriptionBrush clearing along edges of trails, branch trimming, snow farming. Work involves use of hand tools including tree pruners, and snow shovels. Crews will travel within Blackfoot park by snowmobile to attend to areas of concern. Familiarity with operation of a snowmobile is an asset, but not required.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteers need to provide their own food and water and suitable clothing for winter work, and travel via snowmobile within the park. Volunteers must be able to arrange their own transportation to and from Waskehegen Staging Area in Blackfoot Recreation Area as designated by Chief of Course. Note: Safety equipment (hi-vis vests, earplugs, safety helmet, and tools are provided).
When NeededSelect weekdays December to February
Times NeededWeekdays only 9:00AM – 3:30 PM
Number Needed4
096-Course/Trails-Trail worker – Winter